A Life In A Day is a profile of some of the cannabis industry’s key leaders, personalities and advocates. In this edition, we get to know Evan Nison.
Evan Nison is the youngest member of the NORML Board of Directors and sits on the Board of Directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He is the founder of the PR firm NisonCo, which connects leaders in the legal cannabis, medical cannabis, and hemp industries with influential journalists across the U.S. and world.
In 2010, while still a student, Evan took a semester off and moved to California to run the college outreach for the cannabis legalization ballot initiative Prop 19, which spanned over 40 actively managed schools state-wide. He was President of Ithaca Students for Sensible Drug Policy for 4 years, which under his leadership passed one of the first college policies in the country that equalized penalties for cannabis and alcohol on campus. He also received one of the pens used to sign the New York 911 Good Samaritan Law and New York medical cannabis law for his involvement in the passage of both bills.
During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Evan pressed Hillary Clinton for a firm answer on her support for legalization during a live town hall event on ABC’s Good Morning America.
More recently, as part of his mission to build socially driven businesses, he co-founded Whoopi & Maya, a women’s-focused cannabis brand with actress Whoopi Goldberg and fellow board member Rick Cusick. He then went on to co-found Emerald Farm Tours, a Northern California-based cannabis tour company to give the public a transparent hands-on view of the cannabis industry from seed to sale, and Bloody Good Vape & Smoke, a smoke shop in New Jersey he founded with a victim of cannabis prohibition who was held in jail for a year awaiting trial.
Evan has been mentioned in news sources such as the NY Times, CNN, Politico, USA Today, NBC New York, Bloomberg TV, Forbes, and has been profiled in The Cannabist, Civilized, Ithaca Times, Home News Tribune, The Marijuana Times, and the Sun Times. He also received the 2011 NORML Student Activism Award and High Times Freedom Fighter Award for his advocacy.
What Is Your Morning Routine? What do you think about in the morning?
Usually, every night or every morning, whenever my mind is clear, I’ll create my daily to-do list. Lately, I’ve been taking a drive in the morning to help get me ready for work too, kind of like a mini fake commute. It’s important that I have some time to think bigger picture before I create my to-do list, without that I can easily lose focus on my priorities.
What part of the world do you wake up in the morning? What’s it like where you live?
New Jersey, and it’s finally legal here! So that’s nice, and something I’ve been taking full advantage of. Normally I live in Sayreville but I lent that space to a friend of mine to isolate during the pandemic.
What’s the first thing you do each day? What do you eat and drink in the morning?
Usually, I’ll pick up Starbucks on my mini fake commute in the morning, a latte with two or three shots of espresso. I try to eat healthy, especially in the morning, so if I eat in the morning it’s usually something like hummus or fruit.
What do you recommend to read in cannabis?
The last book I read was Good to Great and something I highly recommend all business owners read. It’s not cannabis-related but is relevant to any entrepreneur.
How do you work? How do you plan your day? What’s your job?
Depending on the day, I could have four or five hours of scheduled calls. The calls will often be wildly different too. For instance, on any given day I can be going from HR issues to business development, to PR, to SEO, to advocacy and legislative issues, to planning cannabis tours, to dealing with tenant issues, to exploring new business ventures and investments. I love that my days are so different, but if I have too many calls during the day it usually means I have to stay up later to get my to-do list and emails done.
Do you exercise or meditate? What do you think about when exercising, meditating?
I try to meditate and exercise, but I need to make more time for it. I think much more clearly, prioritize better, and have better ideas during and after both exercise and deep relaxation.
What do you wear these days?
Unless there’s a reason for me to dress a certain way, I usually put very minimal thought into what I wear. I’ve basically worn the same type of stuff since high school, jeans or shorts and a simple t-shirt.
What’s your evening routine like after work? What’s your commute like?
If I stop working for the day it’ll usually be around 8 or 9 pm. Usually, it will depend on how many calls I have and how large my to-do list is. The more calls I have during the day the later I have to work to get my to-do list done and check emails. I usually don’t get everything I planned to do for the day, but I try to get as much done as possible so my to-do list and emails don’t get too backed up.
What do you do after work? When do you consume during the day or at night? What’s your bedtime routine? What are your thoughts when you drift off to sleep?
I consume whenever it makes sense, oftentimes to balance out my coffee or to relax. I almost always consume in the evening before bed, and if I have any indica products this is the only time I use them.
My hope is by the time I fall asleep I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do the next day to be productive, written down, and in priority order. That allows me to fall asleep without thinking about work or what I need to do next, and it allows me to wake up and begin working without too much thought.